An affix (prefix, suffix, infix, etc.) is a group of letters added to a word to modify the meaning or create a new word. For example, the suffix -or can mean a person who does a particular action. Hence: actor, editor, inventor, visitor, etc. The prefix biblio- means book, from which we get words such… Read more Dictionary of Affixes
Do you know all of these words? According to the iWeb Corpus, they are likely to appear on the same web pages as the word coronavirus. virus, viral infection, infect, infected, infectious disease respiratory severe symptom outbreak vaccine, vaccination syndrome fever spread human middle illness transmission antibody immune animal patient diarrhea acute case cat cell… Read more Coronavirus vocabulary
Tatoeba is a database of sentences and translations. Enter a phrase and it shows example sentences in several languages. For example, a search for get drunk finds 95 English sentences, such as: Let’s get drunk. Don’t get drunk. Tom is getting drunk. I never get drunk. Getting drunk won’t make things better. Sentences come with… Read more Tatoeba
Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to Lexico.com. Besides the dictionary and thesaurus, there are sections on grammar, spelling, writing, punctuation, word origins, etc. For example, do you know the longest one-syllable English words? There are several that have nine letters: screeched /skriːʧt/ schlepped /ʃlɛpt/ scratched /skræʧt/ scrounged /skraʊnʤd/ scrunched /skrʌnʧt/ stretched /strɛʧt/ straights /streɪts/… Read more Lexico
Taikonaut was recently an OED Word of the day. It is thought to be a blend of the Chinese words tai kong (outer space) and astronaut. It is one of several words ending in -naut. The OED says -naut forms words with the sense of voyager or traveller. Here are some more examples: aeronaut –… Read more -naut
INTO Resource Centre has a new leaflet for its users:
Did you know that “winter denotes a season of the year, but connotes cold weather”? If not, then perhaps you should consult the Usage section of the Oxford Dictionaries website. It has numerous tips on word choices. For example: Bring or take? Continual or continuous? Its or it’s? Phenomenon or phenomena? Who or whom? Other… Read more Usage tips
Work, the what’s-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d’you-call-it. – P. G. Wodehouse Fortunately, I had all this wreckage to build a space swapping doodah-thingy-whatsit. – The Sarah Jane Adventures (TV series) English has several words for a thing or person whose name you don’t know or can’t remember or can’t… Read more Thingummy
English language learners can measure the size of their English vocabulary at VocabularySize.com. There is an online test of 140 questions. Teachers can create class tests. It has been claimed that you need to know at least 98% of the words in a text to be able to understand it fairly easily. On this basis… Read more VocabularySize.com
A study of 205 international foundation students concludes that overall IELTS score (OIS) “is not a good predictor of overall receptive vocabulary size. The data shows the relationship is particularly weak for Chinese students.” Students with OIS scores as high as 6.5 and 7.0 are likely to still encounter a large number of unknown words… Read more IELTS score and vocabulary size
Besides its regular dictionary and thesaurus, Macmillan maintains an Open Dictionary: The Open Dictionary is Macmillan’s crowdsourced dictionary, where you can suggest new words and expressions for us to add. The Open Dictionary started in 2009, and since then more than 4000 new words and phrases have been added. About half of these new words… Read more Macmillan Open Dictionary
The Macmillan Thesaurus provides not only synonyms but also related words. If you look up elephantine, you get words of similar meaning, such as large, big and enormous. If you look up elephant, you get lists of other African and Asian mammals: giraffe, chimpanzee, panda, etc. You can also browse for words under a hierarchy… Read more Macmillan Thesaurus
Stack Exchange is a collection of questions and answers on numerous topics. Some questions from English Language & Usage: What is the rule for adjective order? What do you call a disk with a hole in the middle? When should “no problem” replace “you’re welcome” as a response to “thank you”? What is the difference… Read more Stack Exchange
The latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary adds some words for cross-breeds of dog: the puggle, a cross between a pug and a beagle (pictured) the maltipoo, a cross between a Maltese terrier and a poodle the dorgi, a cross between a dachshund and a corgi Wikipedia has a list of dog cross-breeds.
Some online dictionaries use symbols to show word frequency. The more symbols a word has, the more common it is in English. Macmillan The Macmillan Dictionary uses 1-3 stars: Longman The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English uses 1-3 circles: Collins The Collins English Dictionary uses 1-5 circles: Oxford The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary labels common… Read more Word frequency symbols in online dictionaries
According to this slideshow (from a presentation at the 2015 IATEFL Conference), you need to know 95-98% of the words in a text to be able to read it easily. At 90%, “For many of your students, this is where ‘fun’ starts to turn into ‘work’.” The slideshow displays excerpts from a story in which… Read more Extensive reading: how easy is easy?
Unolingo, from Smithsonian.com, is a crossword puzzle in which you complete the words using each letter of the alphabet only once. There are no clues. For example, if you decide the top word is STALKING, you use the letters A, L and G, which are then unavailable to complete any other words. Puzzles with one… Read more Unolingo
The publishers of TheFreeDictionary have an online game called WordHub. Make words from the 7 letters before your time runs out. It is similar to Boggle, which you can also play online.
TheFreeDictionary includes a thesaurus with word diagrams. For example, the word influence: Graphic Thesaurus for "influence" provided by FreeThesaurus.com (The diagram may or may not appear above this line.) A similar tool is Visuwords.
The suffix -ful can mean as much as something will hold. For example, a spoonful of sugar is as much sugar as a spoon will hold. (It is the title of a famous song in the film Mary Poppins.) The suffix is common with containers: a bagful of cash a sackful of presents a basketful… Read more -ful
Do you know your ghosts from your goblins? Read the 12 definitions and provide the correct fantasy words. Open quiz in new window
Drag the words into the right boxes. Open presentation in new window
Guess these Halloween words or dance the Tyburn jig. Open quiz in new window
British people have been complaining about Americanisms – words or phrases from the United States that have become common in Britain – since the eighteenth century. For example, nowadays you often hear train station instead of railway station, fries instead of chips and movie instead of film. Ben Yagoda’s blog Not One-Off Britishisms is about… Read more Not One-Off Britishisms